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#610084 - 11/01/04 07:43 PM Baldwin Grand-tight pinblock
JIMBOB Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/18/02
Posts: 1323
Loc: South Carolina
Help !!! I have to tune a small Baldwin in the morning . The tech who has tuned it in the past and is unavailable told me it is a Baldwin with a Delignit pin block and a bear to tune. The first time he tuned it he broke a tuning pin.
I am looking for tips and suggestions to make this job work. We had a Baldwin with a tight block at NBSS that we called "The BEAST".
Suggestiona are welcome before 6:30 am tomorrow morning at which time I have an appointment. Perhaps I should bring a tire iron ?
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#610085 - 11/01/04 10:52 PM Re: Baldwin Grand-tight pinblock
Rick Clark Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/04/03
Posts: 1810
Loc: North County San Diego CA
You have my sympathies. I don't know any way to deal with them and similar tighties other than a good quality long extension lever, tons of time and tons of hard work.

Having a great lever like a Jahn makes the job slightly better but not much.

There's a crop of 4' something grands coming out of China nowadays with very similar feeling blocks. Lots of them. Buwahahaha.

Regards,

Rick Clark
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#610086 - 11/02/04 04:22 AM Re: Baldwin Grand-tight pinblock
wave the chicken Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/14/04
Posts: 91
Loc: Home
I wonder if we could put together some formal rite of piano excorcism?

" DELIGNITUS RIGORMORTUS EXTREMUS REMOVUS "

Then, at a specified time, techs all over the world could perform the chant in perfect unision.

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#610087 - 11/02/04 05:21 AM Re: Baldwin Grand-tight pinblock
Ron Alexander Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/03
Posts: 1292
Loc: North Carolina
Hi JimBob, it's been awhile. As Rick Clark has stated, you too have my sympathy. I know you have an extension hammer, so lots of time and a lot of patience is about all that will get you through it. It is now after 6:30 AM Tuesday. Sorry I did not get my comments to you before the appointment. Best of Luck.

Ron
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#610088 - 11/02/04 05:17 PM Re: Baldwin Grand-tight pinblock
JIMBOB Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/18/02
Posts: 1323
Loc: South Carolina
The Baldwin was not that bad. The pins did not snap and it had agraffes only in the bass. It was a little white polyester grand. Once I got the feel of it I seemed to be able to move the pins okay. It was difficult in the top octave but I expected worse. It did not have s sostenuto pedal- the middle pedal lifted the bass dampers. I like the idea of the chant. If the Chinese pianos start appearing with Baldwin snappy pins I'll pass on them.
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#610089 - 11/02/04 05:22 PM Re: Baldwin Grand-tight pinblock
TomtheTuner Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/29/01
Posts: 806
Loc: Melbourne, Florida USA
Suzuki and Story&Clark (same thing) have really tight blocks. I started using a hammer with a heavy steel handle and it worked but was too hard to handle ('scuse the pun) So I invented the "TCHAMMER" . you can see it on my wensite. It really does eat those kind of pinblocks for breakfast. But if you choose not to buy one, an impact hammer is also effective. Forget the extension handle. The "Jerk" method really works better on these pianos.
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#610090 - 11/03/04 04:25 AM Re: Baldwin Grand-tight pinblock
wave the chicken Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/14/04
Posts: 91
Loc: Home
JIMBOB,

I like to think it was the quick, impromptu "rite of exorcism" that I wipped up before leaving the house yesterday morning that mitigated that situation.

Always in the best of humor,
"Wave"

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#610091 - 11/05/04 07:49 PM Re: Baldwin Grand-tight pinblock
Bob Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3856
The good thing about tight pins is they will still be tight in 60 years. I got my start in Baldwin's Chicago warehouse, so tight pins were all in a days work. It sure taught me how to set a pin. I can blame the Bursitis in my right shoulder on all those tight pins. Baldwin would measure each pin diameter before stringing. Undersize pins would be rejected. They also washed the pins with mineral spirits which removed impurities on the thread surface. The result - tight, smooth turning pins. I'll take those tight, smooth-turning pins over todays sticky pins any time.
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#610092 - 11/06/04 09:12 PM Re: Baldwin Grand-tight pinblock
David Carlson Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/06/04
Posts: 5
Loc: Bellingham, Washington
I have a friend in Seattle who has had great success tuning the Baldwins with tight pins using an impact tuning hammer. Don't particularly like them myself and they're pricey, but if it works who am I to argue?

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#610093 - 11/06/04 09:19 PM Re: Baldwin Grand-tight pinblock
David Carlson Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/06/04
Posts: 5
Loc: Bellingham, Washington
Another quick note on the Baldwin tuning pins. I have a lot of sympathy for Bob's bursitis...it's a common affliction among tuners. Many piano manufacturers actually dip their tuning pins in varnish before driving them, thus providing a little (but not too much)lubrication for the pins and sealing the inner surface of the pinholes. If Baldwin is washing its pins in mineral spirits before driving them it might be the cause of all those sticky pins. My teacher, many years ago found that if he had a pin which absolutely would not respond to the hammer he could solve the problem by removing the pin carefully and applying chalk to it before re-installing. Good luck!

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#610094 - 11/07/04 09:12 AM Re: Baldwin Grand-tight pinblock
Rick Clark Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/04/03
Posts: 1810
Loc: North County San Diego CA
Hi David,

I think the benefit of varnish is simply for the driving in of the pin, not as a long term lubricant, and I see no benefit to sealing the hole. Supposedly the varnish helps prevent damage to the wood fibres as the pin gets driven in and makes the job easier too.

Cleaning the pins is a good idea as there can be industrial substances on them left over from the pin manufacturing process and you wouldn't want them to contaminate the work. Oily substances can ruin the work and debris is certainly good for nothing.

Getting a good tuning pin feel is a combination of careful selection of pins that are the diameter they are supposed to be (individual pins purported to be a certain size may need to be rejected or relabelled as a different size) and careful attention to all aspects of the drilling process including sharpness and size of the drill bit, a drill press with minimum runout spec, the right RPM for the job (not burning the hole), and cooling of the drill bit. Of course the quality and character of the pinblock itself is a huge issue as well and so is the choice of pin&hole size in anticipation of different humidity levels, as what is 'tight' in a less humid part of the country may be vastly overtight in a more humid part.

Many manufacturers do not do well in all these issues. It's quite a fussy thing to do right. It's one of those craftsmanship things that set the best made pianos apart from the pack. I don't think I've ever had less than a good tuning pin feel with a piano from a high-end German maker or the better Yamahas for instance, but American pianos (of yesteryear) seem all over the place in the quality of their pinblock work, while the inexpensive Chinese pianos these days seem to be mostly all quite tight to overtight. (Some years ago there were a lot of overloose Chinese pinblocks that failed, so I suspect they are overcompensating.)

Also I agree with Bob that tight but smooth turning pins are not the worst thing in the world. Unfortunately there are a lot of Baldwin grands out there which pins are not smooth turning at all but rather exceedingly jumpy-tight and almost impossible to tune well. Perhaps these were not the same pianos Bob came across in his Chicago work, or maybe it's that humidity thing. What's "tight" in relatively dry Chicago may be a huge pain in more humid regions.

As to the idea of using impact hammers on overtight pins, I don't understand how your friend does it. I have owned one of these hammers and I found that they were good only on pianos with a good tuning pin feel to start with. On an overtight piano I found it nigh impossible to do with an impact lever and relied instead on "jerk" technique with a regular lever. I now use a Jahn with an oversized socket for this because when you extend a Jahn, it still feels and acts like a 1 piece solid lever.

Regards,

Rick Clark
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Piano tuner-technician

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#610095 - 11/07/04 10:27 PM Re: Baldwin Grand-tight pinblock
Dale Fox Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 1058
Loc: Nor California Sacramento area
I am not aware of Baldwin ever using Delignit in their pianos. They have made there own "special" 'compreg' (compressed impregnated) concoction for years which has caused no end of justifiable complaints. I'd just hate to blame delignit for Baldwin's problem children.
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Registered Piano Technician
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#610096 - 11/08/04 05:59 AM Re: Baldwin Grand-tight pinblock
JIMBOB Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/18/02
Posts: 1323
Loc: South Carolina
According to LArry Fine's Piano Book multilaminated material are made up of 19 to 41 highly compressed veneers of beech or maple. This extremely dense hard materail is used in most Baldwin pianos as well as many expensive European and other foreign pianos often under the brand name of Delignit. The extreme denseness makes for almost a complete lack of resilience. This, along with variations in drilling and pin size could be the cause of pins being so tight.
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Certificate in Piano Technology
Associate Member PTG
Yamaha & Petrof/Nordiska Training
Dampp-Chaser System Installer
Certified Pianomation Installer

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#610097 - 11/08/04 10:31 PM Re: Baldwin Grand-tight pinblock
Dale Fox Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 1058
Loc: Nor California Sacramento area
Yes it is extremely dense material used in the Baldwin. But it is not delignit. Delignit is usable if you know what you're doing. Compreg is not.
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Registered Piano Technician
Remanufacturing/Rebuilding

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#610098 - 11/13/04 01:20 PM Re: Baldwin Grand-tight pinblock
pianoseed Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/13/01
Posts: 884
Loc: here
I tried a few things with a 6'3" Baldwin Grand in my church with tight jumpy pins.
1. Removed pin and dusted hole with Powdered Chalk.
2 Removed pin and reamed out hole.
3. Backed pin off 2 or 3 turns.
#3 seemed to work the best and does not require removing the pin. #2 taught me that it is very easy to overream a hole. #1 was OK.
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pianoseed

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